Monday, December 31, 2012

Warming Up with Soup

by Kelley Lindberg

Winter is a great time for curling up with the ultimate comfort food: a big, steamy bowl of soup. It’s even more comforting when you don’t have to make it from scratch! With food allergies, that can be challenging.

So I was happy to find a line of soups from Boulder Soup Works that are free from eggs, shellfish, fish, wheat, peanuts, soy, sesame, and gluten. The founder, Kate Brown, was eating a gluten-free diet when she founded the company, so she decided that all of the soups her company made should be gluten-free. “We realized the need for a gluten-free soup with dairy-free options, as consumers in our area are highly cognizant of food-related challenges,” says Kate. Over half of their soup flavors are vegan or vegetarian varieties, too.

Their soup comes in a variety of flavors. Some of their soup flavors contain milk and casein (Roasted Tomato Basil, Potato Leek, and White Bean with Tomato). The other flavors don’t contain milk as an ingredient. However, all of their soups contain a “made in a facility that processes tree nuts and dairy” warning. When I spoke to a representative, she said the only tree nut in their facility is coconut – and it’s only an ingredient in two of the varieties (Carrot Coconut with Ginger, and Red Lentil Dahl). Because my son isn’t allergic to coconut, I would be fine serving this soup to him. However, when I asked the representative about dairy contamination, she said the Boulder Soup Works factory uses good manufacturing processes, but she obviously couldn’t guarantee that there would be no risk of dairy contamination (if she could, they wouldn’t need that warning).

In the mood for something a little out of the ordinary, I picked up some of their Red Lentil Dahl soup to take to a party where several of the party-goers are eating gluten-free diets, and they all loved the mild curry flavor and tasty texture. All the soup varieties from Boulder Soup Works are fresh and made with local, organic ingredients, and they don’t use preservatives or artificial ingredients. You can find them in tubs (not cans!) in the refrigerator case at Whole Foods in Salt Lake City.

To read more about why Kate Brown started making gluten-free, fresh soup, see the article “Boulder Soup Works Brings Fresh Soup to Grocery Stores.”

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hope for This Season of Light

by Kelley Lindberg

I wrote this a few years ago, but I decided to dust it off and repost it, because it still sums up my wishes for us all in this season of light. Best wishes to you and your family, wherever you are.
The season of light is upon us.
Earlier this month, we celebrated Chanukah, when Jews light the candles on their menorahs to celebrate the miracle of a sacred lamp burning steadily in the reclaimed temple for eight days on only a single day’s worth of oil. Christmas is tomorrow, when candles everywhere will be lit to welcome the newborn Prince of Peace to earth. Kwanzaa starts on Wednesday, with candles for Kwanzaa’s seven guiding principles. Last Friday was the winter solstice, and drum circles and candles said good-bye to the shortest day of the year and welcomed the lengthening hours of sunlight. In another week, the New Year will arrive in a shower of booming fireworks.
In the middle of our darkest times of winter, we use candles and fireworks to restore light and remind us that the darkness will not last. The cold will give way to warmth. The ice will thaw. The spring will come. Leaves will bud and flowers will bloom. And we light candles to show we remember, we believe, and we will persevere until light spreads around us once again.
Last week, I was outside at my mailbox when I heard a flock of geese approaching. We live near a bird refuge, so geese are forever flying overhead, even in the winter. I stopped and waited to see them as they came up over the house across the street. It was a small flock. There were nine geese.
And one seagull.
The seagull was white and shining in the sun, almost glowing beside the darker, larger bodies of the geese. But the seagull appeared to be a welcome member of the flock. He soared and glided in the middle of the others, keeping perfect time and formation with them. As one, the entire flock, including the seagull, curved into a turn and headed for the mountains, finally disappearing in the distance. There was no honking protest. There were no missed wing beats. There seemed to be nothing but comfortable acceptance. The seagull was simply a member of the flock – whether temporary or permanent, I don’t know, but it was clear he was welcome. Adding the seagull didn’t diminish the flock – it enhanced it, adding a quiet splash of sunlight to a routine flight of noisy shadows.
It was a lovely thing to see. If nature can make acceptance look that easy and beautiful, perhaps all hope is not lost for us human beings after all.
So my wish in this season of light is this – that we all find, somewhere in our hearts, the capacity to welcome each other’s light into our little shadowed worlds, because there is strength in numbers and beauty in new colors. And strength and beauty are good things to keep close as we push through the cold months ahead.
May the lights of the season be yours. Merry everything!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Educating Nannies about Food Allergies

by Kelley Lindberg

Part of what makes living with food-allergic children challenging is trusting the people who care for our children when we are away. Teachers, day care workers, babysitters… they all hold our children’s lives in their hands and act as surrogate parents when we are unavailable.

Making sure those caregivers are informed about how to avoid your child’s food allergens and prepared to act quickly to an accidental exposure is critical. Fortunately, awareness has been growing dramatically over the last decade, to the point where food allergies are becoming an important topic even in online communities that aren’t food-allergy-centric.

For example, I recently met Sarah Tucker online, who runs a blog for nannies: She let me know about a blog post she wrote last week that instructs nannies on the importance of learning about their charges’ food allergies. She also includes several helpful tips on avoiding allergens not just in the child’s home, but at playdates or restaurants, too.

You can read her post at “What Nannies Need to Know AboutFood Allergies.”

People like Sarah are helping keep our smallest generation of food-allergic loved ones safe by making sure that nannies everywhere are informed and prepared. If you know a nanny, babysitter, or day-care provider, be sure you let them know about Sarah’s blog. It’s an extra helping hand for a stressful situation, and we can all appreciate that!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Allergy-Free Gingerbread Houses and Cookies

by Kelley Lindberg

It’s rapidly becoming the time of year when gingerbread houses and gingerbread men (and their assorted wives, children, neighbors, dogs, and lawn furnishings) make their appearance. Traditional gingerbread recipes are full of common allergens, so I updated my list from last year of allergy-safe recipes for those days when you have entirely way too much creative energy and time on your hands. (Yeah, right. We can all hope.)

Allergy-Free Gingerbread House Kit from Sensitve Sweets
If you’re in the mood to go all Habitat for Gingerbread Humanity on your family, here are a few places to jumpstart your allergy-free baking frenzy:
And if you don’t have time for baking, but still feel compelled to glue candy to a house (and who doesn’t?), here are a couple of fantastic no-bake options:
  • The Candy Cottage has a snap-together plastic gingerbread house that lets you add your favorite icing and candy without the time-consuming baking. Nice! You can even wash off the decorations and use it again next year. Many thanks to Michelle Fogg (UFAN’s fearless president) for finding this one.
  • Sensitive Sweets has an Allergy-free Gingerbread House Kit that uses pre-baked gingerbread pieces, and you can order it with or without allergy-free candy from Surf Sweets. The kit is free from nuts, gluten, soy, egg, and dairy. Cool, hunh?
Looking for safe candy to use for decorations? Depending on your allergens (check all labels for ingredients), try Necco wafers, Chex cereal or Frosted mini-wheats for roofing, Smarties (I like to stack them, wrappers and all, to look like firewood or logs on a gingerbread train car), Dum-Dums, Spangler’s candy canes, Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candies (red & white peppermints), Bakers & Chefs Starlight Mints, Skittles, Starburst, your favorite safe fruit snacks and fruit roll-ups, Haribo gummy bears, Jolly Ranchers, Hot Tamales, Mike & Ikes, Dots, Life Savers, rock candy, candy sticks (those swirly candy sticks that they used to sell in general stores – maybe the ones at Cracker Barrel are safe?), or sticks of safe chewing gum.
Enjoy your new Home Sweet Gingerbread Home!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Allergy-Free Cookies for National Cookie Day!

by Kelley Lindberg

Good news! This week we get to celebrate National Cookie Day! That’s right, December 4 is National Cookie Day, a time when we come together to remember all those cookies that have made a difference in our life. After all, where would we be without them?

In honor of this most venerable of holidays, I blew the dust off my recipe box and went on a treasure hunt for one of my son’s favorite cookie recipes. I got this recipe for Cherry Cookies from the Salt Lake Tribune several years ago, and it’s credited to Pam Pettigrew. Of course, I had to make a few alterations to make it allergy-friendly. It does contain coconut and wheat flour (although you can probably substitute your favorite gluten-free flour), and there’s corn syrup in the maraschino cherries (maybe you could try a safe cherry preserves if you're avoiding corn?). My son and his friends love them.

Do you have a favorite allergy-friendly cookie recipe you’d be willing to share? Post it in the comments (or post a link to its website if your favorite recipe is online) and please give credit to the source where you found it, or tell us if you invented it yourself!

Remember, as you’re baking cookies for National Cookie Day, bake up an extra batch or two (or three!) and put them in the freezer for all those holiday parties, co-worker gifts, and neighbor gifts that are coming up. Cookies freeze really well, assuming you have any left over to freeze. That doesn’t happen often in my house.

And one more tip: Don’t have time to bake? There are allergy-friendly cookies on the market now, like those from Enjoy Life Foods (available at Whole Foods and other markets). If you have a favorite allergy-friendly store-bought cookie, share that with us, too!

Thanks for sharing your favorite recipes. Hope you enjoy this one, and have a happy National Cookie Day!

Cherry Cookies

(source: Pam Pettigrew, with modifications by Kelley Lindberg)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c safe shortening
  • 1 egg substitute *(see below)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 T rice milk
  • 1/2 c. maraschino cherries, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. shredded, sweetened coconut
*(For an egg substitute, I like to use Ener-G egg replacer, but I’ve also used 1 tsp baking powder mixed with 1 T white vinegar and 1 T water, and that works great, too. I haven’t tried using 1/4 c. applesauce, but that might work, also. Use whichever egg substitute you prefer when baking.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add shortening, egg substitute, vanilla, and rice milk and mix well. Stir in cherries and coconut. Drop by spoonful on cookie sheet. (I like to line a cookie sheet with parchment paper so the cookies slide right off.) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Donate Allergy-Free Food to Food Drives

by Kelley Lindberg

We’re in peak food drive season now. As if winter wasn’t hard enough on low-income folks, the holidays are upon us, and that makes expectations higher and losses more poignant.

Chances are good you’ll be noticing more food drive requests in the coming days. Everyone wants to help, from Eagle Scouts to grocery stores, from work colleagues to holiday concerts. It’s a wonderful time to stop and think about the blessings we have in our lives, and to share those blessings with others.

As you root through your pantry for non-perishable food items to donate to the food drives in your area, it’s a great time to think about the food-allergic people who will be gathering up the courage to ask for food at the various shelters and service organizations. For example, food drive sponsors always specifically ask for things like peanut butter and other high-protein foods. But if you have a child who’s allergic to peanuts, that becomes a problem when you ask for help.

So I like to stock up with a few jars of Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds -- a great-tasting substitute for peanut butter), Cascadian Farms Harvest Berry granola bars, and other allergy-free food products to put into those food drive bins.

Experts estimate that 1 out of every 12 kids now has a severe food allergy, so that means a lot of families are in need of food-allergy-friendly foods at our food banks. It’s a safe assumption that most non-allergic people won’t realize how important allergy-free foods are when they donate food, so it’s up to us in the food-allergy community to remember our own members in need.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, throw an extra jar or two of Sunbutter in your cart, then drop it in the nearest food drive bin. You’ll be helping to brighten a dark winter day for a hungry family. And a desperate mother somewhere will be forever grateful.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Allergy-Free Thanksgiving Recipes 2012

by Kelley Lindberg

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? Don’t worry. Neither are any of the rest of us. But if you’re still looking for ways to make this traditional feast allergy-friendly for your family, here are some recipes I’ve found that might help reduce your stress. In many cases, making recipes safe can be as simple as substituting safe margarine for the butter, soy milk or rice milk for the cream/milk, and your family’s favorite safe bread for whatever bread the recipe calls for. But I hunted for recipes that come closest to being allergy-safe without modification, because we all need as much help as we can get this time of year!

And while we’re talking about Thanksgiving, let me just say that I’m extremely thankful that I live in a time when finding recipes, tips, support, education, and kindred spirits is just a mouse-click or two away. I can’t imagine having gone through my son’s food allergies in an earlier time without the magic of the Internet at my fingertips. Thank you to all who make the internet food-allergy community a loving place to belong.

Turkey: First things first. Because many turkeys are “basted” or “self-basting,” they may contain allergens (most commonly dairy, soy, and wheat) in the solutions that are injected in them to make them tender. Natural turkeys should contain nothing but the bird and perhaps some water. Read “BeforeYou Buy a Thanksgiving Turkey” from for more information and some guidelines for purchasing a safe turkey.

Stuffing: I admit it, stuffing is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m particularly partial to cornbread stuffing. But some people prefer traditional bread stuffing, while others prefer wild rice or other options. So here are some variations to try (be sure you substitute safe ingredients, such as your family’s favorite safe bread, for whatever the recipe calls for): Bryanna’s Traditional-Style Vegan Bread Stuffing, Vegan Quinoa Stuffing, Cornbread and Wild Rice Stuffing, and Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing (you can leave out the walnuts).

Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are usually loaded with butter and cream or milk. To make them allergy-safe, replace the butter with a safe margarine (like Earth Balance, Spectrum, SmartBalance Light, or Nucoa), and replace the milk with rice milk or soy milk. Or, ditch the whole butter-and-cream idea completely and use chicken broth instead to flavor them. Here is the super-simple recipe from Campbell’s Kitchen for Skinny Mashed Potatoes.

Gravy: My husband is the official gravy-maker in our family. He’s got that whole browning-the-flour thing down pat, and it’s something he can do while the rest of us get the other dishes prepped for the table. But it’s really not that hard to do. (But if I tell him I’ve learned how to make gravy, he might stop, so I’ll never admit to knowing how to do it.) Here is a recipe for a simple Allergy Free Turkey Gravy from that explains the steps well. You can use either regular wheat or wheat-free all-purpose flour in this yummy Thanksgiving staple. YouTube has lots of videos showing how to make turkey gravy if you’re not sure of the process.

Cranberry Relish: Sure, you can dump it out of a can, and for some of us, that can-shaped mold of cranberry sauce holds a warm spot in our hearts. But if you’d like to make something a little bit more special for your dinner, try this easy and delicious recipe for Cranberry-Apple Relish, from Cooking Light magazine on One pan, 15 minutes, and you’re done (and you can make it a day or two ahead).

Sweet Potatoes: You can’t beat those traditional mashed sweet potatoes topped with golden-toasted marshmallows (try this recipe for Marshmallow Yam Casserole, but substitute safe margarine for the butter, and rice milk or soy milk for the cream), but this recipe for Healthy Butternut Apple Bake looks awfully tempting, too. And how about layering pineapple and sweet potatoes with a little maple syrup, in this Yankee Sweet Potato Casserole, or adding crushed pineapple and mandarin oranges to mashed sweet potatoes in Easy Allergy Friendly Sweet Potato Casserole/Souffle?

Green Bean Casserole: If you miss the traditional green bean casserole, you might try this recipe for The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole. You might have to do a few substitutions, though. It calls for soy creamer or full-fat unsweetened soymilk, but if you can’t find that, you might try Tofutti’s soy sour cream. Rice milk might work, too, but it doesn’t thicken at all, so you might try adding a little cornstarch if you’re an adventurous cook. I haven’t tried this recipe, so I don’t know how well it will work. Also, it calls for French’s French Fried Onions as a topping, but those carry a milk contamination warning, so you may want to try something different as a topping, such as safe bread crumbs, safe Panko bread crumbs, crushed Chex cereal, crushed potato chips, or dried Chow Mein noodles.

Pumpkin Pie: Looking for a pumpkin pie that doesn’t contain eggs or milk? Try this recipe from the Kids with Food Allergies website for “Mom’s Pumpkin Pie.” This recipe is in the “free recipe” section of the website, so you don’t have to be a member to access it!

Monday, November 12, 2012

FAAN and FAI Merge into FARE

by Kelley Lindberg

If you've been in the food allergy community for very long, you've discovered the amazing food allergy organizations FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) and FAI (Food Allergy Initiative). Today they've announced that the two organizations are merging. Here is the announcement letter that went to FAAN members, and it contains links to the press release and a questions and answers page, so be sure to visit those pages for more details.

The combined power, influence, and reach of these two fantastic organizations can only mean good things for the future of food allergy research, support, and advocacy.

Dear FAAN Supporter, 

Today we are pleased to announce the completion of the merger between FAAN and FAI. Our new organization, dedicated to food allergy research and education, will be known as FARE.

Building on the significant accomplishments of FAAN and FAI over the past two decades, FARE’s mission is to ensure the safety and inclusion of all individuals with food allergies while relentlessly seeking a cure. We will accomplish this by:
  • Funding world-class research that advances treatment and understanding,
  • Providing evidence-based education and resources,
  • Undertaking advocacy at all levels of government, and
  • Increasing awareness of food allergies as a serious public health issue.
Thanks to dedicated friends like you, FAAN and FAI have made great strides over the years. We are deeply grateful for your support, and proud of the progress we have made together. The merger comes at a crucial time in the national discourse around food allergies, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you as we work to advance research, education, advocacy and awareness.

We are happy to share that the executive leaders of FAAN and FAI, Maria Acebal and Mary Jane Marchisotto, will remain involved in the merged organization. Maria will serve as a senior advisor and a spokesperson for FARE. Mary Jane will serve as the senior vice president of research and operations, with a primary focus on growing the organization’s research portfolio.

Through the end of 2012, you will continue to see the names FAAN and FAI on our events, public communications and websites. FARE will debut its new logo and website, which will be located at, in early 2013.

You can read more about today’s announcements in our press release and questions and answers page. We will continue to keep you informed of new developments at FARE by email, via social media and by posting information on our websites. We’re excited about our plans for FARE and look forward to sharing them with you.


John Lehr

John L. Lehr
Chief Executive Officer

Todd J. Slotkin

Todd J. Slotkin

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Connection between Food Allergies and the Immune System Response

by Kelley Lindberg

This week, I'm happy to host guest blogger Valerie Johnston, a health and fitness writer for Her article examines the immune system's role in food allergy reactions, as well as the difference between a food intolerance and a true food allergy. Thanks, Valerie!

People who are genetically predisposed to have food allergies will not experience an allergic reaction until they are exposed to the food they are allergic to. In other words, the tendency to develop food allergies is already inherent, and the allergies then develop upon exposure to the allergen.

The body of a person who is genetically predisposed to allergies will produce a type of protein called immunoglobulin E (IgE) after being exposed to the specific food that they are allergic to. When the food is consumed, the body’s immune system is triggered to produce specific types of IgE in larger quantities than normal. After IgE is released, it attaches to the mast cells of the body. Your body’s mast cells occur in all of the tissues of the body, but are more commonly found in areas of the body that are associated with allergic reactions, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract, throat, and lungs.

In most cases, a person with food allergies will not experience symptoms until the second time they are exposed to the food allergen. This is because, after the IgE attaches to the body’s mast cells after the first exposure to a food allergen, they are now prepared to combat any foods that the body is allergic to the second time the food is consumed. When the allergen is consumed, the IgE on the mast cells triggers the release of chemicals known as histamines. It is these chemicals that cause a variety of food allergy symptoms.

For example, many people with food allergies have difficulty swallowing or breathing when they consume the foods they are allergic to. This is because the mast cells in the throat and mouth release histamine, which produces these symptoms. Histamine can be released wherever mast cells are located, including the throat, ears, nose, and gastrointestinal tract.

Food Allergy Vs. Food Intolerance

Most people who have food sensitivities (food intolerances) will say that they have a food allergy. It is very important to distinguish between these two problems, since food allergies can have life-threatening consequences and are related to the body’s immune system response.

As described above, a food allergy is a response to a food allergen by your immune system. In most cases, the body is responding to a specific protein in a type of food. Histamine antibodies are produced to fight against a specific protein that the body mistakes as harmful. Common food allergies include, but are not limited to, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, and soy products.

Symptoms of food allergies include:
  • Nausea
  • Hives or a rash
  • Itchy skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Anaphylaxis
Food intolerance is not an immune system response. Instead, a food tolerance is a response made by the digestive system. Some people have difficulty digesting certain types of foods, such as lactose (dairy intolerance).

Symptoms of food intolerances include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating, cramps, or gas
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
While a person with a food allergy and a person with a food intolerance may share a few similar symptoms, the symptoms of a food allergy are usually a lot more severe and can even lead to death if the condition is not diagnosed properly. A proper diagnosis from your doctor or allergy specialist will allow you to prevent symptoms whether you have an allergy or intolerance to certain types of food.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Allergy-Safe Trick-or-Treating Tips

by Kelley Lindberg

I am sending dry thoughts to all my friends on the East Coast today. May Hurricane Sandy treat you gently.

Those of us out West are having the opposite type of weather – no water at all, and warmer temps than usual. While our continuing drought is bad news in general, it’s good news for the trick-or-treaters who will be able to wear their cute costumes Wednesday night without bundling up in giant parkas and snowboots.
Trick-or-treating can be one of the scariest aspects of Halloween for parents of food-allergic children. But for the kids, it’s one of the most fun parts. So how can a parent make trick-or-treating a safer activity?

First, remember that for kids, while they get excited about all the candy, it’s really the adventure of dressing up and going door-to-door that’s important. So help them focus on that part of the night, and realize that you CAN make trick-or-treating safe.

Here are some tips for safe trick-or-treating:

Tip #1: Before going out, remind everyone that no one eats anything until everyone gets home and the parent reads the label on every piece of candy. That way, no one is eating unidentified foods and having a reaction while you’re out in the dark a block away from home. Make sure the kids agree, understand, and agree again. No one sneaks anything (not even Dad).

Tip #2: If your child is super-sensitive to an ingredient, you might have them wear gloves with their costume, so that any allergenic candy that touches their hand on the way into the bag doesn’t cause a skin reaction. Toss the glove in the wash or in the trash when you get home.

Tip #3: Unlabeled candy is assumed to be unsafe. Period. The only exceptions are brand-name candies that you are already very familiar with and know are safe. (For example, I know Starbursts and Skittles are okay for my son, so I’ll let him keep those.) If there is a type of candy that he’s particularly interested in, I might promise to look for it at the store the next day, and read the ingredients there. But it goes into a separate container until we’ve seen it at the store and verified its safety. See my post from Oct 15, “Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up 2012, Part 2,” for a list of many Halloween candies and their ingredients – it might help you sort through what isn’t safe.

Tip #4: A day or two before Halloween, try setting up a network of “safe houses” – families in your neighborhood who will agree to have some “safe” candy to give to your child. Most neighbors would be more than happy to accommodate your child if they know ahead of time. No one wants to think they’re ruining a child’s big night. You’d be surprised how willing most people are to help.

Tip #5: Before you head out on your adventure (preferably several days before, so that the kids aren’t overly excited and can actually hear you), talk about what you’re going to do with any unsafe candy when the night is over. Here are some ideas:
  • Go trick-or-treating with a friend or sibling, and at the end of the night, dump both kids’ candy together, then make two piles – a “safe” pile for the allergic kid, and the other pile for the non-allergic kid. If they both know about this plan beforehand, they are usually more than willing to do this. (My son used to trick-or-treat with a friend who had braces – there were plenty of candies the friend couldn’t eat because of the braces, and plenty that my son couldn’t eat because of allergies, and it’s amazing how generous they both have been about handing over “safe for you” loot.)
  • Buy a bag of safe candy ahead of time, and at the end of the night, let your child “trade” you for all the unsafe candy he brought home. (Then take the unsafe candy to work the next day to share with co-workers.)
  • “Buy” the unsafe candy from your child – but establish a price ahead of time, such as a nickel a piece, a dollar a pound, or the whole kit and caboodle for a new DVD, a new toy, a trip to the movies, a night out with Dad, a visit to the dollar store, or other such treat.
  • Look for a dentist or other business in your area that buys candy from kids on the day after Halloween. (Search the internet to find one in your area.) The kids get money, and dentists often donate the candy to places like children’s hospitals or soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Let the child “donate” the unsafe candy to Mom or Dad, so they can take it to work and share it with their coworkers.
  • Let the child donate the unsafe candy to a local women’s shelter, food bank, homeless shelter, or family of a soldier – the soldiers always seem to appreciate candy that they can share with friends or give to children in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Got any more trick-or-treating tips? Post a comment and share!

Whatever your family chooses to do for Halloween this year, I hope it’s spooktacular!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis

by Kelley Lindberg

Here is a great new online food-allergy resource for teachers, parents, kids, and other community members, sponsored by the pharmaceutical manufacturer who produces EpiPens. They even have an interactive tour traveling to major cities in the U.S. (unfortunately, none in Utah, however).

Get Schooled in AnaphylaxisTM Unveils Interactive Digital Resources to Educate School Communities about Potentially Life-Threatening Allergies
“Modern Family” Star Julie Bowen Encourages Americans to Visit and Traveling Augmented Reality Exhibit
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Oct. 17, 2012 – Mylan Specialty L.P. today announced the launch of a comprehensive, community-inspired resource for families, school staff and students designed to raise awareness of and preparedness for life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) in the school setting:  The enhanced website, which is part of the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis™ initiative, now includes a personalized, virtual tour to access resources provided by leading patient, professional and advocacy groups.  This fall, the educational tools will be brought directly into communities via an augmented reality exhibit that will travel the country to drive home the importance of raising awareness about anaphylaxis and being prepared when anaphylaxis occurs.
When logging on to, visitors will have the option to enter a virtual experience or find useful resources and materials tailored to their role in the school community and where they live.  The goal is for students, parents, teachers, administrators, school nurses and other community members to be able to access information specific to their needs and to learn how they can contribute to raising anaphylaxis awareness and preparedness in their hometown.
“We each have a role to play in helping those at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions avoid their triggers, recognize the signs of a life-threatening allergic reaction and know what to do when anaphylaxis occurs,” said Emmy award-winning actress and “Modern Family” star Julie Bowen, who learned of her son’s life-threatening allergies only after he experienced an anaphylactic reaction as a toddler.  “I’m asking people to go to to become better informed and prepared than I was when my son experienced anaphylaxis.”
To introduce the resources available at, an interactive exhibit using animated videos and the latest “augmented reality” technology will tour the country.  At the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis: An Interactive Experience exhibit, visitors will activate images on a 120-square-foot mural through use of the provided tablets or their personal smartphones after downloading the free Anaphylaxis101 mobile application.  They also will receive educational materials and giveaways, with a special offer for the first 100 people who visit the exhibit on each stop of the 10-city tour.
“Proper response to anaphylaxis can be a matter of life or death, so knowing what part we can each play in furthering awareness and preparedness, particularly in the school community, is critical,” said Hemant Sharma, M.D., Associate Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  “Having digital tools centralized and tailored to support those in the school-based setting is a tremendous asset that will help educate the public about this significant public health issue.”
The expanded website includes an extensive library of downloadable tools and resources from leading patient, professional and advocacy organizations to support personal and school-based anaphylaxis education.  The site is designed to help meet the information needs of the extended community impacted by potentially life-threatening allergies.
Visitors can access the information through easy-to-use, online toolkits tailored to the specific needs of:
  • Teachers: Posters, lesson plans, brochures, template forms, checklists, guidelines and an “Assembly in a Box” to address school safety in and out of the classroom.
  • School Administrators: Template forms, letters, a poster, and links to resources that can be adapted to improve awareness and preparedness among school staff, parents and students.
  • School Nurses: Family allergy and allergic reaction health history form, checklists and tip sheets to help ensure nurses know which students might be at risk for anaphylaxis.
  • Parents: Medical forms, checklists, guidelines, at-home tools and family tips to help educate themselves, loved ones and school staff about how to be ready to respond if anaphylaxis occurs.
  • Students: Worksheets, backgrounders and presentations designed to promote peer-to-peer education about anaphylaxis.
  • Community Members: General anaphylaxis education materials to drive broad knowledge, including an overview of federal laws that protect students at increased risk for anaphylaxis.
About Get Schooled In Anaphylaxis: An Interactive Experience
The coast-to-coast tour will hit key cities across the nation including:
  • Los Angeles, Calif. – Del Amo Fashion Center – Oct. 19-20
  • Denver, Colo. – Park Meadows Mall – Oct. 22
  • Baltimore, Md. – Arundel Mills Mall – Oct. 25
  • Chicago, Ill. – Orland Square Mall – Oct. 27-28
  • Dallas, Texas – Grapevine Mills Mall – Oct. 31
  • Houston, Texas – The Houston Galleria – Nov. 2-3
  • Orlando, Fla. – The Florida Mall – Nov. 8
  • Atlanta, Ga. – Lenox Square Mall – Nov. 10
  • Charlotte, N.C. – Concord Mills – Nov. 13
  • Philadelphia, Pa. – King of Prussia Mall – Nov. 16-17
For more information on the tour schedule visit
About Get Schooled in AnaphylaxisTM
The Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis™ initiative offers practical information to educate the school community to help those at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions avoid their triggers, recognize anaphylaxis signs and symptoms and understand how to quickly get appropriate treatment and immediate medical care when anaphylaxis occurs.  Visit to explore how anaphylaxis can affect the entire school community and learn more about life-threatening allergic reactions.  You can also download practical tools, learn more about Julie Bowen’s family story and watch a public service announcement (PSA) featuring the actress and sign up to receive news about activities and events.  Follow the Twitter handle @Anaphylaxis101 to get the latest news about the initiative.
Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis brings together information from leading patient, professional and advocacy organizations, each with the common goal of improving anaphylaxis education, and makes them accessible through
About Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur when the body is exposed to an allergen.  Anaphylaxis causes an estimated 1,500 deaths each year.  The prevalence of food allergies among children is on the rise, now affecting one in 13 U.S. children.
Children and adolescents are among those most at-risk for anaphylaxis due to increased exposure to potential allergic triggers.  Symptoms may include trouble breathing, chest pain, skin hives or redness of the skin, tightness in the throat, swelling of the lips and/or tongue, nausea, dizziness, a decrease in blood pressure and/or fainting.
Anaphylaxis symptoms may progress rapidly and become life-threatening, requiring prompt recognition and treatment initiation.  While avoidance of allergic triggers is the critical first step in managing life-threatening allergies, allergens are not always obvious and accidental exposure may still happen.
Food allergy guidelines developed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recommend epinephrine as the only first-line treatment for anaphylaxis management and that it be available at all times to those at risk for anaphylaxis.  If experiencing anaphylaxis, a person should use an epinephrine auto-injector and seek immediate emergency medical attention.
About Mylan Specialty
Mylan Specialty, a subsidiary of Mylan Inc. (Nasdaq: MYL), is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing and marketing of prescription drug products for the treatment of respiratory diseases, life-threatening allergic reactions and psychiatric disorders.  For more information, please visit
About Mylan
Mylan is a global pharmaceutical company committed to setting new standards in health care.  Working together around the world to provide seven billion people access to high quality medicine, we innovate to satisfy unmet needs; make reliability and service a habit, do what’s right, not what’s easy and impact the future through passionate global leadership.  We offer a growing portfolio of more than 1,100 generic pharmaceuticals and several brand medications.  In addition, we offer a wide range of antiretroviral therapies, upon which approximately one-third of HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries depend.  We also operate one of the largest active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers and currently market products in approximately 150 countries and territories.  Our workforce of more than 18,000 people is dedicated to improving the customer experience and increasing pharmaceutical access to consumers around the world.  But don’t take our word for it.  See for yourself.  See inside.
Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis™ is sponsored by and a trademark of Mylan Specialty L.P. © 2012. All rights reserved. MYS12-8088

Monday, October 15, 2012

Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up 2012, Part 2 (Local Stores) and Great Candy Corn Hunt!

by Kelley Lindberg

*Please remember to vote for my blog every day until Oct 17, in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Blogs contest. Click the icon to the right to vote – it’s easy, and I really appreciate you helping me reach more food-allergy readers!*

Last week, I told you about some places online to order your allergen-free Halloween candy. This week, I’ll tell you about the candy I found in stores locally. Believe it or not, there are plenty of choices besides Skittles and Starbursts! (Although I’m not dissing S & S – we love them, and they are our favorite go-to brands!)

But first… “The Great Candy Corn Hunt 2012” is on!
  • Nut-free candy corn: Your best bet is Sunrise candy corn, available at the Dollar Tree or online from Peanut Free Planet. Sunrise candy corn contains egg and soy.
  • Egg-free and peanut-free candy corn: Jelly Belly candy corn. It contains soy protein, and it’s manufactured on shared equipment with milk, wheat, tree nuts, and coconut, but they say their manufacturing and cleaning processes are very stringent. You can order Jelly Belly candy corn from Jelly Belly’s website, or from Amazon. You may also find them in stores that sell Jelly Belly candy, like Smith’s.
Now, on to the Halloween candy I found in local stores. This year, I hit Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree.


Large companies use multiple factories. That means the same candy may be produced in different places, with different allergens present. So CHECK LABELS on every single piece of candy. Wonka is one of the worst companies for producing the same candy in different packages containing different allergen warnings, but they are one of the best at individually labeling their candies so you can verify its safety before every bite. Another example: Ring Pops in Halloween flavors from Target and Walmart appear free from the Top 8. But the Ring Pops from Sam’s Club have a milk warning. So they were probably made in different factories. And a few candies have changed their ingredients and moved to other places in my list -- a good reminder to even check old favorites.

I’ve done my best to give you a representative list of what I found, to help make your candy shopping trip a little easier. But please double-check every label before you purchase, and if in doubt, call the manufacturer for clarification (most list a phone number right on their package).

I may have missed something or made mistakes as I scribbled my notes while standing in the aisles. (That goes for prices, too – sometimes it’s hard to tell the prices for different sizes of packages, so forgive me if I get something wrong!) If you find a mistake, let me know. Also, if you find a great source for safe candy, let me know that, too.

First I’ll list candies that don’t list corn as an ingredient (because there aren’t very many of them). Then I’ll list the candies and treats that do contain corn, but are free from some or all of the Top 8 allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish).

By the way, EVERYTHING on this entire list is NUT-FREE and PEANUT-FREE. That's where I started, then I broke them down by the other allergens. I hope it helps simplify your Halloween season!

CORN-FREE as well as free from Top 8
(These candies don’t list corn syrup in their ingredients, so they may be safe for corn-allergic kids – please double-check ingredients. Some list dextrose, and that can come from corn, so contact the manufacturer directly if you are allergic to corn):
  • Smarties (Target - 67 pcs for $2.66 or 210 pcs for $7.99; Walmart – 165 pcs for $4.48.
  • Pixie Stix (Target, 120 for $2.69)
  • Giant Pixy Stix (Sam’s Club, 50 giant stix for $11.78)
  • Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candies (red & white peppermints) (Sam’s Club, 290 for $6.98)
  • Test Tube Powder Candy (doesn’t list corn, but does list “glucose syrup”) (Dollar Tree, 8 tubes for $1)
  • Candy Jewelry (doesn’t list corn, but does list “glucose syrup”), (Dollar Tree, 15 pcs for $1)
  • Spongebob Gummy Krabby Patties (doesn’t list corn, but has “glucose syrup” and beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree, 10 for $1)
  • Skulls & Bones Hard Candy (contains dextrose) (Dollar Tree, 11 for $1)
  • Too Tarts Spray Candy (contains sucralose) (Sam’s Club, 12 for $9.02)
CORN-FREE, but contains Soy warning:
  • Bakers & Chefs Starlight Mints (contains “glucose syrup” and traces of soy); (Sam’s Club has 620 for $7.48)
Everything from here on down contains corn ingredients

Free from Top 8 (Wheat, Peanut, Tree Nut, Milk, Egg, Soy, Fish, Shellfish):
  • Betty Crocker Halloween Fruit Snacks; (Sam’s Club - 48 pouches for $7.48; Walmart - 28 pouches for $4.96)
  • Betty Crocker Fruit Roll-ups, Halloween designs with tattoos (Target – 36 for ???; Walmart – 36 for $4.96)
  • Kellogg’s Fruity Snacks (contains coconut oil) (Sam’s Club - 24 per box, $6.98
  • Market Pantry Halloween Fruit-Flavored Snacks (Target – 54 for $7.99)
  • Great Value Fruit Smiles (Walmart - 42 pouches for $5.28)
  • 24 Halloween Jelly LolliPops (Sam’s Club - 24 for $7.98)
  • Skittles Funsize pouches (Walmart - 20 for $2.28; Target - 21 for $2.66 or 80 for $7.99; Sam’s Club - vending size pouches, 36 for $19.88)
  • Starbursts Funsize pouches (Walmart - 32 for $2.28; Target - 32 for $2.66; Sam’s Club – vending size pouches, 36 for $19.88)
  • Starburst Gummiburst (contains coconut oil) (Walmart – 12 for $2.28)
  • Skittles and Starbursts Assortment (Sam’s Club – 172 for $10.98 or 30 vending size pouches for $14.58; Walmart - 55 for $4.48; Target – 105 for $9.99 or 55 for $4.99)
  • Skittles, Starbursts, and LifeSaver Gummies assortment (Target – 315 for $13.99; Walmart – 180 for $13.88)
  • Skittles Twist ‘n Pour (candies in a plastic pumpkin or ghost dispenser) (Target - $1 each, or 12 for $13.99)
  • Dum-Dums (Sam’s Club - 360 for $8.52; or Target has 320 for 9.99; Dollar Tree - 25 for $1; Walmart 160 for $4.48 or 70 for $2.28)
  • Dum-Dum & Smarties Assortment (Target – 200 for $7.99)
  • Ring Pops, Halloween flavors (Walmart – 22 for $4.48; Target – 2 for $1) [NOTE: Ring Pops from Sam’s Club have a milk warning, so read all labels!]
  • Market Pantry Sour Gummy Worms (Target - single hang-bag for $1)
  • Trolli Gummy Candy Mix (Target – 50 for $7.99)
  • Comix Mix Candy Stix (contains beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree – 22 for $1)
  • Marvel Heroes Candy Sticks (contains beef gelatin) (Dollar Tree - 22 for $1)
  • Jolly Rancher (Sam’s Club - 5 lb bag of 378 pcs for $10.48; Target – 3 lb bag of 285 pcs for $8.49)
  • Push Pops (Sam’s Club – 24 for $10.62)
  • Hot Tamales (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $14.17)
  • Mike & Ike (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $14.17; Target – 63 for $7.99)
  • Sour Patch Zombie Kids (Target – 80 for $7.99)
  • Sour Patch Kids (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $13.32)
  • Swedish Fish (Sam’s Club - 24 vending-sized packs for $13.32)
  • Dots (Dollar Tree - 6 mini-boxes for $1)
  • Life Savers Big Ring Gummies (Walmart – 32 for $2.28)
  • Bubble Babies Bubble Gum (Dollar Tree - 88 for $1)
  • Bubble Babies Sour Gum Balls (contains coconut), (Dollar Tree - 77 for $1)
  • Spooky Lollipop Rings (Dollar Tree – 5 for $1)
  • Mini Sour Dudes Straws (Dollar Tree - 10 for $1)
  • Zombie Fingers (Dollar Tree – 4 for $1)
  • Bloody Bites (plastic fangs with blood bags of blood-colored liquid candy) (Dollar Tree – 8 for $1)
  • Gummy Body Parts (Dollar Tree – coffins and bags of 12 for $1) [Note: Walmart sells Frankford Candy Body Parts that contain peanuts, nuts, milk, soy, beef, and corn, so read company name and ingredients carefully]
  • Monster Pops Lollipops (Dollar Tree – 6 for $1)
  • Grave Gummies (contains coconut) (Dollar Tree - 12 for $1)
  • Life Savers Spooky Shapes Gummies (Target – single box for $1)
  • Box of Boogers (Target – $1 each)
  • Spooky Lip Pop (Target – $1 each)
  • Snoopy Gummies (Target - $1 each)
Contains Soy or Soy Warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Wrigley’s Gum (Doublemint, Winterfresh, Big Red, Juicy Fruit, Spearmint) (Sam’s Club - 40 5-stick packs for $7.14)
  • Laffy Taffy Ropes (Sam’s Club – 48 ropes, $9.52)
  • Laffy Taffy (Sam’s Club’s – in tub of 145 for $6.22, or in Wonka Mixups bag, which contains candy with egg, 270 for $9.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews (Sam’s Club – 12 boxes for $6.72, or in Jolly Rancher & Twizzler Assortment, which has candy with wheat, 225 for $10.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Lollipops (Sam’s Club – in Jolly Rancher & Twizzler Assortment, which has candy with wheat, 225 for $10.98)
  • Jolly Rancher Assortment (Target – 120 for $7.99)
  • Jolly Rancher Watermelon Stix and Apple Stix (Walmart – in Jolly Rancher & Twizzler Assortment, which has candy with wheat, 100 for $4.48)
  • Double Bubble Bubble Gum (Target – 38.5 ounce bag for $7.99; Walmart – 160 for $4.48)
  • Lollipop Skulls (Dollar Tree – 16 for $1)
Contains Wheat or Wheat warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Twizzlers Cherry Pull N Peel (comes in assortments with Twizzlers containing wheat) (Target – assortment of 120 for $7.99; Walmart – assortment of 100 for $4.48)
  • Disney Candy Mix (Target – 120 for $7.99)
  • Marvel Candy Mix (Target – 120 for $7.99)
  • Twizzler Strawberry Twists and Twizzler Filled Twists, in Twizzler & Jolly Rancher assortment (Walmart – 100 for $4.48; Sam’s Club – 225 for $10.98; Target – 120 for $7.99)
Contains Milk or Milk warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Ring Pops (Sam’s Club - 40 for $9.98)
  • Exploding Candy (Dollar Tree - 25 pouches for $1)
Contains Egg or Egg warning (but free from other 7 top allergens):
  • Nerds, SweeTarts, Bottlecaps, and Laffy Taffy (which contains soy) in Wonka Mixups bag (Sam’s Club – 270 for $9.98)
  • Spooky Nerds, SweeTart Skull & Bones, and Howlin’ Laffy Taffy (which contains soy) in Wonka Monster Treats bag (Walmart – 1.81 lbs for $4.48)
Contains Soy and Wheat or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Twizzlers (Sam’s Club - tub of 180 individually wrapped for $7.24)
  • Twizzler Snack Size Twists (Target - 60 for $2.66)
  • Airheads (Sam’s Club: 90 for $8.98; Target – 60 for $7.99)
  • Airhead Mini Bars (Target – 105 for $7.99; Walmart – 30 for $2.28)
Contains Milk and Soy or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Charms Blow Pops (Sam’s Club - 100 for $8.86; Walmart - 50 for $4.48)
  • Double Bubble gum (Walmart – 72 for $2.28) [Note: the Double Bubble Gum from Dollar Tree and from Target doesn’t have a milk warning, so they may use multiple factories. Check labels carefully before eating]
  • Kraft Caramels (Walmart - 50 for $1.98)
  • Sixlets (tiny cellophane tubes of 6 round candy-coated chocolate flavored balls): (Dollar Tree - 18 for $1; Target – 150 for $7.99)
  • Tootsie Rolls Midges (Dollar Tree and Target carry, but I forgot to check prices; Sam’s Club – 760 for $7.48; Walmart – 360 for $4.48)
  • Tootsie Roll large rolls, in jar (Sam’s Club – 96 for $8.34)
  • Child’s Playtime Mix with Tootsie Fruit Rolls (corn, soy, milk), Dots (corn), Tootsie Pops (corn, soy, milk), Tootsie Rolls (corn, soy, milk). (Sam’s Club – 5.3 lbs for $9.78)
  • Sugar Daddies (Dollar Tree – 10 for $1)
  • Tootsie Pops (Dollar Tree – 11 for $1; Sam’s Club – 100 for $9.18; Walmart – 50 for $4.48)
  • Hershey’s Chocolate bars, the 1.55 ounce size ONLY (most other sizes contain nut warnings) (Sam’s Club – 36 for $19.15)
Contains Wheat and Egg or warnings (but free from other 6 top allergens):
  • Wonka Nerds Ropes (Sam’s Club - 24 for $13.18)
  • Wonka Shockers (Sam’s Club – 24 for $13.18)
  • Wonka Nerds (Sam’s Club – 24 boxes for $13.18, Target - 27 for $2.66)
Non-Candy Ideas:
  • Angie’s Kettle Corn Classic Flavor, free from Top 8 (Target, 24 pouches for $7.99)
  • Lay’s Potato Chips, free from Top 8 (Sam’s Club, 50 pouches for $11.98)
  • Corn Nuts Ranch Flavor, contains soy but free from other 7 (Sam’s Club – 18 for $8.12)
  • Funyuns Onion Flavored Rings, contains milk and soy (Sam’s Club – 50 pouches for $11.98)
  • Oreos Minis, in Funsize packages, contains soy and wheat (Target – 18 for ???)
  • Oreos, regular size, 30 packs of 6 cookies each, contains soy and wheat (Sam’s Club – $9.56)
  • Keebler Crème-Filled Sugar Wafer Cookies, 24 packs of 10 cookies each, contains soy and wheat (Sam’s Club - $8.48)
  • Slim Jim Meat Sticks, contains beef, chicken, soy, and wheat (Sam’s Club – 100 individually wrapped for $16.64)
  • Drinks, like Kool-Aid Jammers or Capri Suns, or sodas in mini-cans (available everywhere) – check ingredients
Non-Food Ideas:
Don’t forget, you don’t have to hand out candy to your trick-or-treaters. Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, and party stores like Zurchers, as well as Oriental Trading Company’s website have plenty of Halloween-themed novelties you can hand out, such as:
  • Halloween Hot Wheels 5-pack (Target)
  • Bat or spider rings
  • Plastic bugs and creepy crawlies
  • Halloween bouncy balls
  • Vampire teeth
  • Halloween-colored bracelets
  • Halloween pencils or erasers
  • Glow sticks or bracelets
  • Drinking straws with Halloween figures on them
Watch Out for These:
The following candies may land in your child’s trick-or-treat bags, and they may not have ingredients labels, so watch out for them:
  • Columbina candies – all have a factory warning for Peanuts, Egg, Tree Nuts, Soy, Milk, and Wheat
  • Tiger Pops – packaging lists all allergens
  • Lemonheads contain only corn, but are usually found in assortment bags that include warnings for all the allergens on the overall packaging
  • Jawbreakers contain only sucrose (doesn’t list corn), but packaged in an assortment that lists all the allergens in a factory warning
  • Warheads – various packaging lists some or all Top 8 allergens in factory warnings
  • Bazooka Gum-Filled Pops – lists only corn, but comes in an assortment listing all allergens in a factory warning
  • Cry Baby Sour Gumballs – contains corn
  • All mini and fun-sized Hershey’s chocolates contain nut warnings and should be avoided. Plain milk-chocolate and dark-chocolate Hershey’s kisses are nut-free, but contain milk. Most flavored kisses (caramel, cherry-filled, etc.) list nut contamination. The only nut-free size of Hershey bars is the 1.55 ounce size (the type commonly sold alongside graham crackers and marshmallows for S’Mores.)
  • I have not found any taffy that is nut-free, so assume all taffy contains nut contamination.
Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes or Party Food:
  • Market Pantry Sour Gummy Worms (Target – single hang-bag for $1)
  • Life Savers Spooky Shapes Gummies (Target – single box for $1)
  • Dollar Tree has lots of spooky, creepy gummies and candies that would look great on cupcakes, Jell-O cups, or Rice Krispy Treats.
  • Haribo Gummy Bears (contains corn and coconut, but free from Top 8), available at Target and other stores

Monday, October 8, 2012

Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up 2012, Part 1 (Online Sources)

by Kelley Lindberg

Halloween is creeping in on little black kitten paws…

And that means it’s time for my annual Allergy-Free Halloween Candy Round-Up!

Nothing stresses parents of food-allergic kids like holidays. And Halloween, with its focus on candy, is one of the scariest! But believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to satisfy almost every sweet tooth, no matter what allergies your little ones have.

I’ve been shopping locally for candy to see what types of allergen-free candy we can find in stores and online. But since most candies I’ve been finding locally contain corn syrup and food colorings, if those are your issues, your best bet may be to order your candy online. If that’s the case, you’ll want to order candy this week so that it arrives in plenty of time for Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. Online sources are also great for finding allergy-free chocolate, as well as unusual treats, like allergy-free brain-shaped lollipops! That’s why this week I’ll write about some online sources that offer great allergy-free Halloween candy.

  • Indie Candy:  This site is the place to go for all-natural candy with no dyes or any of the Big 8 allergens at all! Most of their candy also appears to be corn-free, too. They have a large selection of confections including gorgeous crystal lollipops, chocolate, and gummis, and you can search by your specific allergy needs.
  • Yummy Earth.  Yummy Earth candies (lollipops, drops, gummy bears, and gummy worms) are corn-free, as well as being free from the big 8, and they use natural colorings and flavorings. You can buy them online at and on Amazon.
  • Peanut Free Planet: This allergy-friendly grocery site sells a ton of different candy from lots of different manufacturers, including Vermont Nut Free, Enjoy Life Foods, and Amanda’s Own. You’ll find chocolate, jelly beans, and all sorts of allergen-friendly groceries. They also sell KitKats, Mars bars, and Nestle Aero Milk chocolate bars that are made in a Canadian factory, and therefore nut-free (unlike their American factories). They also carry nut-free candy corn from A and J Bakery (but it contains egg whites and soy), as well as Surf Sweets jelly beans and gummies. Surf Sweets is a brand I’ve just learned about; they are organic, natural, gluten-free, and free from the Top 8 allergens. 
  • Amanda’s Own Confections:  They offer chocolate in some fun Halloween shapes, as well as jelly beans and other candies, all dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and gluten-free!
  • Divvies:  Nut-free, dairy-free, and egg-free chocolate ghosts, jelly beans, gummy stars, and chocolate chips! Oh my! (Chocolate contains soya lecithin.)
  • Natural Candy Store:  Looking for those lollipops shaped like brains? Found it! This site focuses on natural ingredients, but they also let you search for candy that’s free from all Top 8 allergens. Even better, you can search for candy free from single allergens, like milk or soy. They carry hard candy, Glee gum, Enjoy Life chocolate, organic chocolate syrup, breath mints, and licorice, among others! Click here for their Allergen-Free Candy page.
  • Vermont Nut Free:   Their chocolates are peanut-free and nut-free, but they do have milk and egg warnings on them. Their huge selection of nut-free chocolates includes caramel and chocolate pumpkins, chocolate-covered marshmallows on a stick, Halloween chocolate pretzels, and foil-wrapped chocolate shapes (like bats, witches, and ghosts). They also sell skippers, which are similar to M&Ms, but nut-free, of course.
  • Chocolate Emporium:  Read the ingredients carefully on this website, but they do offer a lot of allergen-friendly goodies. All Halloween items are dairy-free, certified parve by the Star-K. Call before you order to ensure you get what you need.
  • Mad Alex Products: I haven’t ordered from this store before, but they advertise Candy Tree Twists in different flavors (similar-looking to Twizzlers). Here is their ingredient info for the strawberry flavor: “Allergen Considerations: Chemical Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Fish Free, Gluten Free, No MSG, Organic, Peanut Free, Potato Free, Sesame Free, Shellfish Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Wheat Free, Yeast Free. Ingredients: Organic corn syrup, organic rice flour, organic rice starch, organic concentrated fruit juice: strawberry (3%), apple, elderberry, organic flavor: strawberry. Made in a Facility that Processes: Gluten and Dairy. Made on Equipment that Processes: Gluten.”
  • Oriental Trading Co.:  Remember, trick-or-treats bags don’t have to be filled with candy. Oriental Trading Company offers a bazillion (I counted them) super-cheap novelty toys, many that you can buy in quantities of 50, 144, or more.
Remember, next week I’ll post a list of what I found in local stores and where I found it, so check back next Monday.